Soybeans have been an essential crop for thousands of years, and those little legumes remain a common food group for many, but soybeans stretch beyond just their dietary function.
If you’ve ever picked up a skin or hair care product with soybean oil on the ingredients label, and wondered what it was there for, keep reading to see how it can benefit you and your body.
What is Soybean Oil?
Soybean oil is the vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the soybean. It’s often used in cooking as it’s commonly found in commercial vegetable oils, and they are a staple in asian cuisine as well as vegetarian and vegan diets because they provide a complete plant-based protein source. Soybeans are eaten on their own, and are used to make soy milk, tofu, soy milk and tempeh.
Consumption of soybeans is linked to numerous health benefits like lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, improved bone health, and reduced risk of heart disease, but there’s a lot of debate on whether or not soybean oil is a healthy part of your diet as it is high in trans fat.
However, all signs point to it being a beneficial skin and hair care ingredient. Soybean Oil is full of Vitamin E, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, and manganese, protein, and isoflavones, all of which have a long list of benefits when it comes to both your hair and skin health.
How Soybean Oil Benefits Skin
Various natural oils can work wonders for your skin, and soybean oil is one of the many. Its molecular structure is very small, which allows it to easily penetrate the skin’s outer layer and work its magic.
The copious amount of vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant which builds up your skin’s barrier, and protects against free radicals, which are known to cause rapid signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration. A stronger skin barrier will lock in moisture, and ultimately result in healthier, younger looking skin.
Vitamin E has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties which can prevent skin swelling and redness following overexposure to UV rays. That doesn’t mean you should ditch your sunscreen for soybean oil, as it only protects from UVB rays and not UVA rays, but consistent usage can boost sun protection alongside your sunscreen. The anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce the appearance of acne, scarring, and blotchiness from skin conditions such as rosacea.
Alongside vitamin E, soybean oil is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which restore collagen and increase skin’s elasticity, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. So soybean oil is simultaneously working to prevent and reduce signs of aging.
Altogether, the unique combination of vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants work together to nourish the skin, lock in moisture, and reduce acne and inflammation which is all you can ask of a skin care product, especially if you have dry, flakey skin.
How Soybean Oil Benefits Hair
The benefits that soybean oil produces for your skin carry over to hair care as well. It provides hydration due to the omegas and vitamin E, and can fight inflammation on the scalp. It’s a great oil choice for hair as it’s not as greasy as other oils, and it absorbs well, so it won’t leave your hair and scalp looking dirty.
Vitamin E also aids in hair growth by strengthening the hair follicle, and fighting free radicals that can damage skin cells on the scalp (which can lead to hair loss), and the proteins and amino acids can help build keratin which strengthens the hair fibers making them more elastic and less prone to breakage. So if hair loss, or lack of fullness is a concern, soybean oil can provide the restoration you need.
The silky texture of soybean oil makes it an excellent detangler that coats each strand and reduces friction between strands, making it easier to comb through smoothly.
All of these factors make soybean oil an especially great option for thick, curly hair.
Safety of Soybean Oil
Soybeans contain isoflavones (genistein and daidzein) which are types of phytoestrogen, which some people consider harmful and carcinogenic, though there is little substantial research to back up these claims, and when applied topically, they are not able to enter the bloodstream.
Soybean oil is generally rated safe and non-toxic by EWG. However, soybeans are often genetically modified so be on the lookout for non-GMO and/or organic sources of soybean oil.
It is also a common allergen so make sure to consult a doctor before using any product containing soybean oil.
All in all, reaching for hair and skin care products that use non-GMO soybean oil as an ingredient can be a beneficial new step in your beauty and personal care routine if you’re looking for antioxidant rich, hydrating products.
Try Cleure’s extra hydrating lotion Cleanser for softer skin with help from non-GMO soybean oil.